Proposed changes to senior hurling championship may have to be scrapped
Published 03/03/2016 | 02:30
A decision taken by Congress last weekend, concerning changes to the All-Ireland senior hurling championships, is so fundamentally flawed that it may have to be scrapped.
Proposed by Antrim, it provides for the Christy Ring Cup winners to gain immediate access to the Leinster quarter-finals, rather than having to wait a year, as applies at present.
While that may appear like a relatively small adjustment, it has a major knock-on impact for the Leinster Championship and All-Ireland qualifiers, as well as adding to the fixtures load at a time when club players are already deeply frustrated by their erratic schedules in summer.
There's also concern over whether the new arrangement conflicts with two rules, in which case it would be totally invalid.
In addition, there's a fairness issue as the adjustments bestow a bigger reward on the Christy Ring Cup winners than on higher-ranked counties who compete in the Leinster 'round robin' series.
It's understood that the changes will be discussed as a matter of urgency by Central Council on March 19, with a view to deciding if any corrective measures can be taken.
However, the new system, which is due come into effect next year, has so many anomalies and contradictions that it's difficult to see how any solution can be found without returning to Congress for re-assessment.
Remarkably, the motion for change was passed on an 80-20 per cent majority on Saturday afternoon, despite Congress having voted 96-4 on Friday night to retain the current system for the foreseeable future.
Antrim, who were relegated from the Liam MacCarthy tier to Christy Ring status last summer, made an eloquent case for change, which went through with little debate.